Braves Rumors: What would Atlanta do with Max Fried's $200 million?
The Atlanta Braves have a tough looming decision to make on starting pitcher Max Fried. Fried missed a couple of months due to injury this season, and has a seemingly-yearly blister issue. Fried is coming up against free agency after the 2024 campaign, and Alex Anthopoulos will have to give him a contract extension that runs well into his 30's for the Braves to keep him around.
The House That Hank Built's Fred Owens have other ideas. Owens suggests that Fried, when the time comes, will get a near $29 million AAV contract which would cost the Braves up to $200 million. Rather than sign Fried to such a deal, they could instead let him walk and plan ahead.
Ownes suggests that Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto could be an ideal pitcher to place behind Spencer Strider in the rotation. Doing so would almost surely signal that Fried will leave in 2024, as the majority of the money Anthopoulos would give Fried in any deal would instead could to Yamamoto.
"Yamamoto has no injury and should take very little time to adjust to the difference in baseballs and pitching every fifth day. He offers all these benefits at the ripe old age of….25. Signing Yamamoto to a six to eight-year deal follows the Anthopoulos model of acquiring a stud player before his prime and extending him through it," Owens wrote.
As Owens notes, signing Yamamoto -- who is several years younger than Fried -- makes more sense than extending Fried, especially if Anthopoulos is a believer in his talents. It's something for the well-renowned general manager to mull over.